Edit Bay this season is going to be a much shorter analysis due to spoilers. However, I will still assign ratings to each player, so readers can track the chart throughout the season. And I will highlight a few potential story arcs and important alliances. But there will be no discussion of potential winner edits.
This episode delivered on the promise of the Soka vs. Ratu war that was teased at the start of Episode 7. As a whole, it was probably the most fleshed-out episode of the season so far, despite it having a challenge that took up 17 minutes of screen time. Yes, 17 minutes!
We were given some insight into the tribe dynamics, with Ratu and Soka preparing their numbers for the incoming battle. Danny led the charge on the Soka side, while Brandon was sort of the mouthpiece for Ratu. Sadly, we didn’t get any follow-up to Danny and Brandon’s previous bonding at the Episode 5 journey. That could have been a fascinating wrinkle to this story, especially with Brandon ultimately being the one eliminated at Danny’s hand. Sadly, that was left by the wayside.
Still, we had an understanding of where the numbers lay, with the Tika three once again positioned in the middle. Yam Yam and Carson spoke about the power they have and how no one else sees it. Carolyn, too, talked of going from being on the outs to having a strong spot in the middle. It’s almost like the Tika trio as a whole has taken on Carolyn’s theme of “underestimated outsider.”
Frannie and Heidi also had some pretty solid content. Frannie was Ratu’s target, which added nicely to her “down and out” story following Matt’s elimination last week. It set things up perfectly for her being saved by Danny’s idol. And Heidi got to explain her thought process behind controlling Lauren’s vote to target Yam Yam last week, both in confessional and to Yam himself. It showed us that Heidi is thinking about this game and her position within it, and from what we saw, it didn’t cause her reputation much damage.
Unfortunately, things weren’t quite as fleshed out on the Ratu side. Lauren had a positive moment with her challenge win, especially after being viewed as the weak link during the partner picking portion. But we still don’t have much insight into her strategy thoughts. Kane was basically the voice of overconfidence, even if he did acknowledge how that often comes back to bite you on Survivor. And Jaime was barely visible at all.
That left Brandon as the main talking head for Ratu, but even his confessionals were rather basic. We got the bare minimum strategy talk to reach a MOR rating, just enough to make sense why he was the target of the vote. But the overall lack of depth to Brandon and Ratu across the season so far took something away from the impact of the blindside.
So as it stands right now, the season’s story is still very much centered around the Tika three; it’s their decisions that are presented as the most important; they have the most depth and characterization. While the remaining Sokas of Danny, Frannie, and Heidi are sort of secondary.
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